TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — If you’re feeling more symptoms with the COVID-19 vaccine than with the flu shot, you’re not alone. Health experts say there’s a reason for that.
Deepta Bhattacharya, with the University of Arizona, says the reason why more people are having more reactions to COVID-19 vaccines compared to flu vaccines is because they're made differently.
“Vaccines are really engineered and designed to trigger some of that inflammation-- the COVID-19 vaccine,” he told KGUN9.
Bhattacharya says the flu vaccine does not trigger the same reaction.
“The vaccine has sort of removed that aspect of it just because people are tired of getting those symptoms. So just to increase vaccine uptake and so people don’t feel badly. That inflammatory stuff has largely been removed,” he added.
It is because of this that the UArizona professor of immunology says protection doesn’t last that long for flu vaccines.
“Only about a year or so. Everything that we’re seeing from the COVID-19 vaccines makes me fairly optimistic that it’ll last longer than that, and large part because you do get that inflammatory reaction,” Bhattacharya added.
So experts say an immune response to the COVID-19 vaccine is a good thing. Symptoms mean your body is working to fight off a perceived threat.
“1 in every 200 people who get the virus will die. That’s a lot. The vaccine helps you build antibodies. It helps draw in other parts of the immune system, T-cells for instance. So there’s a lot of different layers that are being built and defenses that are being built when you get vaccinated,” he told KGUN9.
As your body is building up those defenses, health experts say folks will typically experience mild to moderate symptoms.
The most common include fever, chills, headache, soreness, and fatigue.
“I mean I think if you have a really severe headache.. Like something that doesn’t seem like a normal headache at all, or some severe leg pain, abdominal pain. Those are the kinds of things you want to let your doctor know and also if you’ve received the J&J vaccine in the last couple of weeks,” Bhattacharya said.